Plastic lamination has long been a problem for the environment– sticking plastic film to sheets of paper (or card) makes both materials more difficult to recycle. Oeding Print’s ‘Ten tips’ (Pulp 22) notes that lamination can only be sustainable when it increases the service life of a product. But though clients might wish to laminate a hard-wearing item such as a menu, there are now many alternatives, such as Imitlin (used for Paper Box, see Pulp 19), that can be used by sustainability-conscious brands determined to adopt ‘Eco-design’ methods.
Sadly, decisions about lamination are often taken with little regard for sustainability. Chiara Medioli Fedrigoni notes that clients sometimes ‘fall in love with the tactile smoothness of laminated things’. There is the danger that an agency, to flatter the ego of a brand manager, might think that adding plastic to a paper label or a piece of package signifies ‘high technology’, or the ‘durability’ of the product.